Not a day goes by now that we don’t hear about yet another email hack.
So once again, we have to hit you, dear readers, over the head with some email basics. Somehow, really smart people haven’t been paying attention, so even if this seems remedial, take a moment and let it sink in.
Be careful with your emotions and what you write about other people in emails, unless you want them broadcast to the world. Because there’s a really good chance they will be.
In other words, if you have anything bad to say about anyone, don’t say it. Use another forum.
Because your emails will get hacked, they will get seen, copied and pasted, shared, passed around, with words that could come back to haunt you.
The examples of folks letting their guards down in emails are so numerous.
So what to do?
For starters, if you don’t want it shared, don’t put anything sensitive in an email. At my office, our IT department suggests we put such data into text messages. Of course, they can he hacked too, but reports aren’t as frequent as email hacks.
Try out one of the “military grade” encrypted email services like Sendinc or Virtru. Both apps start with free plans and graduate to $5 monthly for sending and receiving more than a handful of daily emails.
Use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN when you’re online. This is what it sounds like – a private network that in theory prevents snooping eyes from seeing what you’re doing and where you are going. But remember, if a hacker wants to get into your business, he or she can do it. But it could slow down the process and send them to someone else.
Let’s put it this way – it couldn’t hurt to add a VPN to your computing life, especially if you’re using free wi-fi at coffee chops, airports and the like. Many VPN services, (TotalVPN, Private Internet Access) like the encrypted email offerings, start with limited free plans but begin charging monthly rates, starting at $5, for more robust services. “We create an encrypted tunnel, so nobody can spy on you,” says Private Internet Access in a promo video on YouTube.
Use your voice. Sure, the phone could get hacked, and the room could be bugged, but in most normal situations, they’re not. Face to face communication, whether that be on a deserted stairwell or in a crowded, and loud, shopping mall, is less likely to be recorded.
So, in summation – please remember this: Be careful. Emails are not private. They’ve never been so and they never will be.
They are a written record of our professional lives, so take what you put in there a little more seriously.